Philippe Coutinho ‘confident’ for Barcelona run-in – Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde hopes Philippe Coutinho’s goal against Manchester United will boost his confidence levels for the rest of the season.

Coutinho has faced questions over his form this season and has failed to cement his place in the first-team at the Catalan giants since his January 2018 switch from Liverpool.

However, his golazo in Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Manchester United has given the belief that he could be afforded a prominent role in the season run-in.

“Players feed off confidence in the same way everyone else does and when they get things right, when they play well, that confidence grows quickly,” Valverde told reporters on Friday, in quotes carried by ESPN.

“They then have confidence which maybe at other moments that they didn't have. We're all exposed to criticism and praise continuously here and Coutinho is the same as everyone else.

“It's true he made a gesture [to the fans] when he scored, but it surprises me that we're talking about that more than a great goal in a Champions League quarterfinal.

“It didn't seem anything special to me or a lack of respect towards anyone. We give too much importance to these things.

“It's normal that he's been criticised because we're at a club where the demands are so high.

“There are always different spells during a season, but the other day he played really well, scored a great goal and that's what I took from the game.”

Tags Philippe Coutinho